This Roti Pisang (Banana) is vegan, delicious, and really fun to make, especially if you plan to toss the dough.
Roti Pisang is one of the sweet versions of roti canai you can get at Mamak stalls in Malaysia or Singapore. Thailand has a version of this that’s served with condensed milk, which I got some for my parents when I was in Chiangmai.
When I was younger, my breakfast was a simple roti canai (roti prata in Singapore) with dal. How the uncle flip, toss, twirl the roti to the air, and then slap it back to the stainless steel table with a thud always amazed me. It’s such an art and skill. Little did I know that once I move away from home, this delicious meal that cost me less than $0.50 became $5 a piece in the States–what? But, it’s all worth it to get a taste from home. Please do note that most restaurant versions are most likely vegetarian and not vegan.
Now, let’s talk about the roti pisang. It’s the same roti canai dough but fill with banana, sugar, and butter. So, don’t get confused with the banana bread that you bake in the oven. Traditionally roti canai is made with ghee (clarified butter) and some recipes call for condensed milk. To keep this recipe vegan, I’ve replaced that with oil. Do you know that we serve roti pisang with dal or curry for a sweet and savory version? I served it as-is this time with a cup of teh tarik!
How to make Roti Pisang (Banana)
The steps are pretty simple and you can always make the dough the night before. Simply thaw to room temperature before stretching it out thinly.
Part 1: Prepare the dough
The traditional roti canai dough uses ghee (clarified butter) and some with condensed milk. This recipe is obviously vegan without the two ingredients mentioned. Please check the Cooking Tips below on what I found during recipe testing.
In a large mixing bowl, add the water, sugar, salt, and oil, then stir to combine with a rolling pin or spatula. Add the dry ingredients in and stir until you get a shaggy dough. Scratch off the extra dough from the rolling pin, if any before kneading into a cohesive ball.
The dough looks rough at this point, it’s okay. Cover the bowl with a tight lid and rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the gluten is now relaxed and you can easily knead it into a smooth dough.
Divide into 4 equal pieces and form into balls. Add a tablespoon of oil to a pan (I used 8″ non-stick cake pan). Coat each ball generously with the oil, then cover the pan with a tight lid. You can refrigerate this overnight or let it sit for at least an hour or two (depending on weather) A well-rested dough will be very soft and easily stretched. And that’s it for the dough, easy right?
Part 2: Assemble and cook Roti Pisang
This is the FUN part especially if you decide to flip the dough to make it paper-thin. To start, grease your palm and the work surface if you are not using a silicone mat. Take a dough, flatten it into a thin circle using the heel of your palm.
Then, flip or pull to stretch the dough to as thin as you can, about 4 – 5 times the original size. The paper-thin dough is crucial to the crispy outer layer when cooked.
Top with sliced bananas, butter pieces, and sugar.
Bring the sides to the middle and slightly overlap the edges. Repeat the same step for the top and bottom edges to make it into an enclosed large rectangle roti.
Heat a skillet with oil or vegan butter over medium heat. Place the roti, seamed side down, and cook until golden brown. Flip and continue to cook until crispy on this side.
In between cooking, the roti will puff up and you can see some caramelization from the banana.
Serve hot (be careful the filling is piping hot) with a side of dal or as-is or with more sugar sprinkle at the top. I served mine as-is.
Vegan Roti Pisang (Banana) Cooking Tips
- Flour to use – This recipe calls for all-purpose flour but you can replace with whole wheat. Please note that the color will look different and denser if you choose the latter. Because whole wheat flour may absorb more water, increase the water volume, a tablespoon at a time until you get a cohesive non-sticky ball.
- Oil to use – I’ve tried with olive and avocado, they both work great. Some oil does solidify in lower temperature, in that case, please thaw the dough to room temperature if you decide to refrigerate it.
- Can I use vegan butter to replace the oil for the dough? Yes, you can, but it needs to be melted first. One downside of using this is that the dough can’t be stretch out too thin. Vegan ghee is also a great substitute.
- Traditional roti canai recipe uses condensed milk. To keep this vegan, I’ve tried with coconut condensed milk and the coconut taste was a little overpowering. So, I skipped that in this recipe. However, please use that to replace the sugar if you don’t mind the taste. It actually keeps the dough soft as well.
Why You Need this Roti Pisang (Banana)
- It’s crispy on the outside and buttery sweet on the inside
- Perfect for make-ahead – simply prepare the dough a few hours before before dinner or overnight for next day breakfast
- Easily customizable – other sweet options: kaya, hazelnut spread, or durian
- SOO Tasty and delicious!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Roti Pisang (Banana)
- 300 g all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar plus for more sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons oil* used avocado
- 175 ml water
- oil for brushing and cooking
- Vegan butter as desired
- Banana slices I used 1 banana for each roti
- Prepare the dough. Place water, salt, sugar, and oil in a large mixing bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add the flour and stir to combine using a spatula or rolling pin. Knead into a cohesive ball. Cover with a tight lid and rest for 10 minutes. Uncover and knead again until a smooth top forms. Divide into 4 equal pieces and form into balls.
- Add a tablespoon of oil into a plate or 8" cake pan. Coat each ball generously with oil. Cover and rest at least 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge. For the overnight dough, thaw to room temperature before use.
- To stretch the dough, grease your palm and the work surface. Take a dough and flatten it into a thin circle using the heel of your palm. Then, flip and twirl or stretch to thin out the dough as much as you can, about 4-5 times larger than the original size.
- Top with sliced banana, vegan butter pieces, and sprinkle with sugar. Bring the sides to the middle and overlap the edges slightly to seal. Repeat with the top and bottom edges to get an enclosed large rectangle roti.
- Cook the roti after you fold it. Heat a pan with vegan butter or oil over medium heat. Place the roti in the hot pan, seamed side down, and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. If it browns too quickly, lower the heat. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes, adding more oil if needed. The roti will start to puff up during cooking and you will see the banana starts to caramelize. Repeat the same process with the remaining dough.
- Serve warm with a side of dal or as-is.
- *I’ve tried with both olive and avocado, they worked great.
- Highly recommend weighing your flour instead of using cups.
- For other tips, please refer to my Cooking Tips section above.